Beyond entering and leaving the industry, changing firms is probably the most challenging, and potentially most rewarding, career move an advisor will ever make. But anxiety abounds: What about registrations? licenses? A new logo? New office furniture? But mostly, what if the clients don’t follow?
Cetera Financial built their 90-in-90 Plan to help advisors overcome that anxiety by laying out a defined, detailed and complete process for transition with the goal of bringing over 90 percent of an advisors’ book within 90 days of making the switch. In the industry at large, only 72 percent of an advisor’s clients make the change with them, according to Cerulli.
Cetera’s transition team is led by a 10-person staff dedicated to the move, acting across roles, from project manager to trainer, operations personnel to, occasionally, therapist.
“In a transition, one of advisors’ biggest concerns is loss of revenue, as well as a loss of focus on their business and their practice. This [program] allows us to effectively take on the role of transition, moving it forward seamlessly and effortlessly,” says Erinn Ford, president of Cetera Advisors. She added the 90-in-90 plan, in turn, also builds up the advisors’ trust and confidence in Cetera and the new partnership.
Since the team’s inception in April of 2012, over 400 advisors with verified production have gone through the program, says Brett Harrison, executive vice president of Advisor Growth with Cetera Financial Group.
Part of the strategy sounds simple: Don’t be a nuisance to the client. Execution is another matter: Each advisor gets a customized plan to eliminate “not-in-good order” paperwork before it hits the office, eliminating the need to burden the client.
“We work hard to accomplish this to eliminate repetitive touches to the client and draining the time and energy of the advisor,” Harrison says.
The program also takes into consideration privacy regulations, Harrison says, noting that the 90-in-90 plan is executed with a strict adherence to protect client data. Cetera also provides advisors with the tools to help explain to clients the change. “Advisors appreciate that we do not bend the rules and work in partnership with them to protect them and their clients,” he says.
Next up: Electronic signatures. “Over time, we’ll explore how this new system fits into transitions and working in partnership with Docupace and their Docupace Transition Assistance Tool, to make batch processing of brokerage accounts, with e-signature, a reality.” Harrison says.